Whether you’re engaged in a content marketing strategy, PPC campaign, or organic SEO – you need to pay close attention to the search intent behind your chosen keywords. 

Why is that?

It’s because even with all the backlinks and on-page optimizations in the world, your content won’t rank and won’t generate new leads/revenue if you misinterpret the search intent. Google is well aware of this, which is why it published a document on it a few years back in 2018. 

Search intent also refers to how far along a consumer is in the sales funnel. Certain types of intent, such as informational and navigational, are higher up on the funnel and less reliable for generating revenue. 

An example of informational intent would be someone searching for ‘what is project management software.’ 

At this stage in their buyer’s journey, they’re only beginning to learn about project management software, which means they probably won’t be ready to buy a program anytime soon. 

In that scenario, the consumer would be at the very top of the sales funnel

What’s on the bottom?

Commercial intent and transactional intent keywords are at the bottom of the sales funnel, meaning the consumer knows what they’re looking for and is ready to buy. These are high-intent keywords, and they’re your ticket to higher rankings and more sales. 

Read on to learn how to discover, target, and use high-intent keywords in your content. 

What is Search Intent?

Search intent or keyword intent is one of the most critical aspects of SEO, and it can make or break the success of your campaign. 

Search intent refers to the underlying purpose behind a search query. In other words, it’s the reason the searcher needed to use Google in the first place. 

With as crucial as search intent is for successful search campaigns, it’s often overlooked. Many new SEOs will neglect to check the search intent behind their keywords before they spend money on content creation. 

That’s a shame, as that can lead to thousands in lost revenue dedicated to content that doesn’t translate into sales. 

As such, make it a rule of thumb to ALWAYS check the intent behind your targeted keywords. The good news is that this is a simple process that doesn’t take too long to complete. 

Without knowing the intent behind a keyword, determining which angle to take with your content can quickly become a guessing game, which is what you don’t want. Let’s consider the example of the keyword’ biotin.’ 

Without looking into the user intent, we have no way of knowing what the user wants to accomplish by searching for it. 

Do they want to learn more about biotin? Are they ready to buy biotin supplements? Or are they trying to navigate to a specific product page selling biotin?

Say you decide to spend money creating a blog about what biotin is and its potential benefits for hair growth – only to find out the intent was mainly transactional after the fact, which leads to you wasting your money. 

How to uncover the intent behind a keyword 

Now that you know how imperative it is to learn the intent behind a keyword, how do you do that?

Let’s start by breaking down the different types of search intent, which are:

Infographic on Different Types of Search Intent

  • Informational intent (top of the funnel). These queries exist only to answer a question or learn more about something. Example keywords include best fitness blog, how many states in the US, and digital marketing strategies
  • Navigational intent (top of the funnel). Navigational intent is to reach a specific web page, such as a homepage or login page. For instance, these keywords are all navigational: Twitter, Facebook login, Nike contact information, etc
  • Commercial intent (bottom of the funnel). At this stage, the user is searching for content to prepare to make a purchase. Example keywords include best of something, as well as reviews.
  • Transactional intent (bottom of the funnel). These search terms represent users that are ready to make a purchase. As an example, the long-tail keyword ‘buy toilet paper online’ shows a clear intent to make a purchase. 

Nine times out of 10, your keywords will closely align with one of these groups – however, that’s not always the case. 

Passing the ‘search intent test’ 

Sometimes, it can be quite difficult to determine which one of these four categories a keyword belongs to – so you should always double-check to see if your assumption is correct. 

How do you do that?

The easiest and most common way is to check the top 5 Google search results for that keyword. Google’s algorithms are amazing at uncovering search intent, so the chances are very high that the top 5 pages for any given keyword have nailed the intent. 

So if you’re scratching your head about the intent behind one of your target keywords, the first blog on Google likely has the answer for you. 

That will clue you in on what your users are truly looking for with the keyword, which is invaluable for your content strategy

If your goal is to build brand awareness, tailoring content around informational intent keywords is okay and actually a good idea. 

Yet, if you want to increase your revenue by reaching new potential customers that are ready to buy – you’re better off focusing on keywords that occur at the bottom of the funnel, which brings us to high-intent keywords

What Are High-Intent Keywords?

The difference between high-intent and low-intent keywords has to do with their place in the sales funnel. 

Since informational and navigational keywords occur at the top of the sales funnel, they’re considered low intent. At this stage in the process, searchers aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for or if they even need to make a purchase. 

As such, these aren’t the best keywords to focus on, as the users need to be nurtured through a lengthy sales cycle involving lots of expensive content and interaction. 

Instead, transactional and commercial keywords represent customers at the bottom of the funnel ready to buy now – making them high-intent keywords (also called buyer intent keywords). 

Therefore, you should only focus on transactional and commercial keywords if your goal is to increase revenue. That way, you won’t have to spend time and money creating content that may or may not cater to potential customers at the top of the funnel. 

In fact, users at the top of the funnel may never turn into customers. It could be that someone was remotely interested in the topic and searched about it out of boredom. 

If you want your brand name to stick in the minds of readers while achieving thought leader status, keywords with informational intent will provide a lot more value to you – but for the purposes of this article, we’ll ignore those types of keywords. 

Why go after high-intent keywords?

As stated above, trying to focus on low-intent keywords when you want to increase conversion rates isn’t a winning formula. 

The reason content marketers love to focus on high-intent keywords is that they allow you to start at the bottom of the sales funnel. Essentially, you can skip the middleman of educating, informing, and nurturing prospects until they’re ready to buy. 

Tailoring content around high-intent keyword phrases will allow you to swoop in and introduce your products and services to a customer right before they scan their credit card, which is highly advantageous. 

If you haven’t found success with your current keyword strategy, try centering your future research on high-intent keywords. 

Discovering High-Intent Keywords in Your Niche 

Now that you know why it’s beneficial to go after high-intent keywords, how do you find them?

There are several ways to uncover them, including

Infographic How to Uncover High Intent Keywords in your niche

  • Using a keyword research tool 
  • Analyzing competitor keywords, 
  • ‘Seed’ keywords 

Let’s learn more about each method so you can find the one that works best for you. 

Keyword research tools 

At The HOTH, our free keyword research tool is perfect for uncovering high-intent keywords. All you need to do is enter a general topic or keyword, and the tool will generate tons of results in seconds. 

The Hoth's Google Keyword Planner Tool

From there, you can quickly identify the keywords that have commercial and transactional intent (while double-checking with the Google search results to ensure you’re correct). 

Let’s try it out with the keyword we mentioned earlier, biotin

After entering the query into the tool, 50 results load for us (with the option to view more). 

Each keyword contains its search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC (cost-per-click), and search trend – which are all valuable keyword metrics. 

Biotin 5000 mcg immediately stands out as a high-intent keyword. Since it has a specific dosage, it’s clear that the searcher already knows what biotin is and intends to purchase some. It also has a decent search volume (1,900) and a relatively low keyword difficulty score (44). 

A quick Google search for the keyword confirms my suspicion, as the top-ranking results are all product pages for biotin. 

That’s how easy it is to identify high-intent keywords using our free tool, so don’t hesitate to put it to work for you. After all, it took me less than 5 minutes to find an ideal buyer intent keyword that you could use to create content. Before you know it, you’ll have a robust list of keywords with high purchase intent. 

Researching competitors 

Ahref’s Site Explorer tool is a lifesaver when it comes to uncovering your competitor’s high-intent keywords. 

Image of SIte explorer ahrefs

Once you enter your competitor’s URL, select either the top pages or organic keywords reports. To find keywords with the highest intent, try adding the following modifiers to the reports:

  • Best
  • Review 
  • Comparison
  • Alternative
  • Vs
  • Top 

These modifiers all suggest high intent, so they should quickly uncover the high-intent keywords the site is currently ranking for in the organic search. 

From there, pay attention to the search volume and keyword difficulty for each query to make sure it’s feasible to rank for it. Not only that, but pay attention to the content they create for each high-intent keyword, as it can help you spark your own ideas. 

You also need to analyze their content to see what you’re up against. 

If you want to stand a chance at outranking their content, you’ll need to outdo their content by a significant margin. That means adding high-resolution product images and videos, glowing reviews, and answering frequently asked questions. If your content better satisfies the search intent than the original post, you stand the best chance of outranking it. 

Seed keywords 

What’s a ‘seed’ keyword?

It’s the most basic form of a query you add filters or modifiers to so you can uncover high-intent keywords. 

You can do this using virtually any keyword research tool, including ours. 

To begin, enter a generic keyword, like biotin, from the example above. Next, you need to add filters or modifiers to it – which you can either do manually or through tools like Ahref’s Keyword Explorer. 

The modifiers are the same as above: best, review, comparison, etc.

If you include the modifier best to biotin in our free tool, the top-rated keyword is ‘best biotin supplement,’ which has a search volume of 4,400 and a keyword difficulty of 44, which isn’t bad. 

Using seed keywords is a great way to find high-intent keywords in a short period, so don’t hesitate to include them as part of your SEO strategy. 

Concluding Thoughts: High-Intent Keywords 

That’s the prevailing narrative surrounding high-intent keywords. They’re goldmines for increasing conversion rates, as they represent users that are ready to make a purchase. 

As such, focusing on high-intent keywords is a must if your ultimate goal is to transform content into revenue. 

You can find high-intent keywords by using research tools and modifiers, which you can then create content for online. That way, you’re marketing your products and services to the users that are most likely to convert. 

Are you unsure of your target audience, and do you feel completely lost when it comes to SEO?

Then don’t hesitate to check out our five-star managed SEO services at HOTH X. Our team of tried and true experts will work with you to develop a winning SEO strategy that makes full use of high-intent keywords, so don’t wait to book a call today.